Suspects arrested after 14-year-old forced into marriage in Eastern Cape

24 January 2018 - 08:10
By Nico Gous
Image: 123RF/canjoena

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) has welcomed the arrest of nine suspects on charges of abduction and human trafficking of a 14-year-old in Idutywa‚ Eastern Cape.

The suspects appeared in the Idutywa Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.

“The abducted girl was forced into underage and unlawful marriage‚” CGE spokesperson Javu Baloyi said.

CGE chairperson Lulama Nare said the commission respects the constitutional right of cultural freedom and choice‚ but no cultural and religious practice supersedes the constitution.

“The abuse of cultural practices and symbols at the expense of women and girl children is totally condemned‚” Nare said.

The CGE reiterated its call for an end to underage marriages and quoted StatsSA‚ who reported that 91‚000 underage girls are abducted annually.

“It is also equally worrying that Eastern Cape in the same report is rated third behind KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng when it comes to underage marriages‚” Baloyi said.

“Underage marriages are not only a women rights violation and harmful traditional practice but also‚ they rob these girls of education and their dignity. Of greater concern is that they are sexually groomed at best or at worst raped by their abductors.”